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Listen, this process called poetry is an exercise in imagining memory, and then having that memory snare and cherish imagination.

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🦋 Spo-dee-o-dee

I was reminded this weekend of a song I love, and I bothered to do a little research and find out more about it. Here's the version I was listening to this weekend:

I always think of this as a Rockabilly tune; turns out the original version predates Rockabilly by a few years. It was written by Granville "Stick" McGhee when he was in the army in WWII (supposedly under the title "Drinkin Wine, Motherfucker" -- I hope hope hope this is not apocryphal*) and recorded on Decca in 1946 -- Granville's elder brother Brownie(!) played guitar.

They re-recorded it in 1949 on the Atlantic label and had a hit record:

I can't find the 1946 record on the internet anywhere - says Decca re-issued it after Atlantic's hit and "It flopped because it didn't rock."

The big hit, the reason I think of this as a Rockabilly number, was Jerry Lee Lewis:

So which do you like best? I hear things I love in each of them, I'm leaning towards thinking the Pirates version rocks the hardest... Any other favorite covers of this tune?

*Update: I found a reference for this story, and more information about Stick McGhee, in The Unsung Heroes of Rock n Roll, by Nick Tosches.

posted evening of Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
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